Rebecca Liebert, who was recently appointed as the president and CEO of Honeywell UOP speaks to Pipeline Magazine about the company’s Middle East focus and new technologies.
Liebert was previously the vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s Catalysts, Adsorbents and Specialties business. In her new role, she will lead the growth of the company across global markets, including the key Middle East region.
What is Honeywell UOP’s main focus currently?
Here in the Middle East, ambitious modernisation programs are starting that promise to raise the standard of living for generations. This will generate new demand for fuels and the petrochemicals that supply a diverse and vibrant industrial sector. All of this new demand will be met by new technologies for oil and gas companies in the region, and UOP is working on those very technologies.
How important is the Middle East refining and petrochemical market for UOP?
The Middle East is critically important to Honeywell, and we view this from a unique perspective. For the last 60 years, we’ve been proud to be the trusted advisor to virtually all of the oil and gas companies in the Middle East. We were present at Ras Tanura in 1963 to start up the first UOP Merox™ unit in the Middle East for Saudi Aramco. This was followed by the first hydrocracker at the Jeddah Oil Refinery, also in Saudi Arabia, and the first of several hydroprocessing units for the Shuaiba refinery in Kuwait. Today, nearly 400 UOP process and adsorption units are in operation across the Middle East. From our offices in the Middle East, we serve customers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, and Oman. We also maintain two R&D centres in Dhahran, including one at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Tell us more about your latest investments and efforts in R&D, technology and new product development?
Honeywell UOP invests heavily in research and development. We established a revolutionary new business called Connected Performance Services – or CPS – using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to run refineries by combining UOP’s deep process knowledge with Honeywell’s software capabilities. The result is smarter plants that run better and are more able to avoid downtime. Also, we’ve announced the introduction of our new Unity line of hydroprocessing catalysts, which now includes a range of catalysts for hydrotreating. We also introduced the ISOALKY process, which uses ionic liquids instead of hydrofluoric or sulfuric acids to produce high-quality alkylate.
What are some of the key challenges facing refining and petrochemical producers that UOP is looking to solve though its value adding offerings?
With global demand for refined products rising by 1 to 1.5 million barrels per day, and demand for petrochemicals rising even faster, refiners need to add capacity and gain flexibility to produce whatever products will generate the greatest profit. Our entire technology portfolio is designed to boost yields and provide that flexibility, to convert more of every barrel into the products that are most in demand – and doing it in a highly energy-efficient way that has the least environmental impact.